Birds found in western Sydney
Since European settlement in western Sydney, at least 336 species of birds have been recorded in the region. Of these, 60 species have only been seen on a few occasions and may be assumed to have accidentally entered the area; the remainder are permanent inhabitants or regular visitors.
The most frequently encountered birds in the 1995-96 Western Sydney Urban Bushland Survey were the spotted pardalote, grey butcherbird, Australian raven, golden whistler, grey fantail, Australian magpie, grey shrike-thrush, noisy miner, silvereye, magpie-lark, superb fairy-wren and the eastern rosella. These birds were detected in 75 per cent or more of the survey areas.
At least 38 species of native birds have either disappeared from western Sydney or their numbers have been greatly reduced since European settlement in the region. Most of these birds were typically inhabitants of the Cumberland Plain woodlands, such as at Nurragingy Reserve in Blacktown. The decline of these species may be accounted for by the large-scale clearing of their woodland habitat.
Four endangered and 24 vulnerable species have been known to inhabit western Sydney in the last 50 years. However of these, four (little tern, black-necked stork, comb-crested jacana and magpie goose) are now extinct in the area and another seven (including the brolga, osprey and blue-billed duck) are occasional visitors.
Sixteen of the threatened species are waterbirds. Five threatened species — bush stone-curlew, glossy black cockatoo, powerful owl, sooty owl and masked owl — were detected by the survey. The decline of these species may be attributed to their habitat being fragmented, a decline in their food sources and being preyed on by introduced species.
Species profile: the bush stone-curlew
The bush stone-curlew is classified as endangered under the Threatened Species Conservation Act. It is a large, ground-nesting bird that relies on camouflage to escape from its predators. Being ground-nesting, it has been affected adversely by the clearing of its habitat for development and is at the mercy of introduced predators such as foxes and feral cats.
These days the bird is rarely seen in western Sydney, but a nesting pair were discovered on military land in Penrith during the survey. The pair's survival is due to the nature of its habitat on military land where it is protected from predators and human activity by limited access and the presence of high-security fences.
Page last updated: 04 May 2011